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Not another purebred dog! Oh yes indeed, one of the finest breeds I have come across in my entire life. I am surrounded with German Shepherd (Alsation), Border Collie, Fox Terrier and the Bouvier des Flandres. My love for animals, especially dogs, is not revolving around one breed only. I believe any dog, may he be pure bred or not, can be our friend, companion and guard dog with a faithful devotion. We should make the time and effort to learn as well as caring for our animals. Before I continue, it is with a tear in my eye, fingers shaking and a heart still throbbing that I am sharing my personal experience and little knowledge regarding this wonderful breed. Sadly, I have lost two great friends and companions this year. Diggb had Cancer of the milt (otherwise known as spleen), which died only a few months later after being diagnosed, in June and Peppi, the baby of family and friends who knew her, suddenly died Tuesday, the 27th of November of heart failure. Diggb have always been Peppi’s idol, and I would like to believe that where ever they might be, Peppi would still be following her idol as she so often did in the past. While saying that, let me add that I am very thankful being blessed with an animal such as Oliva. With her silent strong character, which we know so much about, and her courageous effort in re-assuring us of her unconditional devotion, she took control as only a Bouvier des Flandres could. The truth is that she simply decided to launch her own canine investigation with the commotion that was caused and knew instinctively that her beloved mate would not return, before we realized the inevitable. Allow me to share a few facts about these “Gentle Giants” while dedicating this opinion to Diggb and Peppi. The Bouvier des Flandres, not a Belgium cattle herder as many might call them, can be pronounced phonetically as, “Boo-Vee-Ay day Flon-Druh”. This great animal’s weight can reach up to 55 kilogr
am and his height approximately 50 to 60cm, shoulder height, that is. He is blessed with a massive chest, a large shaggy animal, with a square intelligent face and a powerful body suitable for hard work and protection of his family. The Bouvier des Flandres, with hair about 6cm long, vary in colors, from fawn to Grey, charcoal, sometimes black, and also variegated. Their hair is rough to the touch and dry with a dense undercoat. A Bouvier’s head looks larger than it is due to their well-known beard and whiskers. Their ears are huge and very movable. As a matter of interest, cropping of ears are not allowed in Southern Africa. The eyes of a Bouvier are usually dark-colored, very alive and slightly oval. Do you also believe that your dog communicates with his eyes? A very good weapon the Bouvier is in possession of, communicating with their eyes. Their body is powerful looking and compact, with a short back and well-developed belly. Their legs are very muscular, round and solid, with a good stance. Tails are mostly docked at a young age and it is only a pleasure watching these giants’ gaits. They are excellent at a trot, good at running long distances with an enormous endurance capability. The character of these ragged looking beasts are often inaccurately predetermined by many as being very aggressive towards humankind and as a result this breed is often dismissed when people start searching for a companion or a watchdog. What happened to research? Spending a little time to fulfill one’s personal needs, I wonder? Diggb was at a very vulnerable stage when I needed to spend a little more time and effort while in training when the neighbors moved in. We never had children moving around before and these young children had Diggb very curious. Unbeknown to us, Drien and Lily, the two girls was just as curious about this creature next door. One afternoon there was a commotion outside and looking through the window, what I was about to s
ee had me stunned, after the initial shock I had. These two girls, not being able to resist Diggb’s charm, simply jumped over the fence, walked right up to him, and started playing. To our amazement he was thrilled with joy too and joined the fun. No one could ever separate these three or pose a threat with Diggb as their guardian. Besides, isn’t this a great new excuse to meet your neighbors? I can not recommend it though, as it might not be so good after all. So, why do I write about such details? Simply as I need to make a statement that any aggressive beastly looking animal should have an equal chance of earning your approval. All they really need is the opportunity. Besides children, the Bouvier des Flandres possess a certain charm and temperament which amazingly attracts the elderly. Diggb and Peppi loved attention and we found that they created energy, with smiles breaking into laughter while in the presence of older people. Can you imagine…the beast…and the elder? The Bouvier has a mixture of courage and sensitivity, stubbornness and tenacity. They are normally very rational and calm which makes him a wonderful in-the-house companion. They are generally quiet and do not have a destructive nature in a house, which is also why they fit into a domestic routine very easily, although they do need exercise. With this appealing temperament, they are an excellent choice to have around children and have a unique impact to the elderly. They are willing to play or work to the extent of any one’s energy and ability. Even though the Bouvier can be very stubborn and even devious in getting his way, (remember, their intellect is far higher than we ever give them credit for) training them is a remarkable experience. Training can develop into many diverse areas. We have to respect their background and understand their character, and only need a little research using our time in an effort to gain information. In fact, research
should be done for any breed or animal. The Bouvier is a capable tracking and search dog and a very responsible and effective guard dog. They belong to the group of Herding and are a highly respected working dog. They are one of the more trustworthy canines to be used in Special Forces such as police work, guard duties and military applications. A special characteristic of a Bouvier serving in Police Departments, is the fact that they are not quick to snap in anger and he does not have the vicious attack-dog temperament. The Bouvier assess situations before attacking. Drien once moved towards an open gate and in an instant Diggb charged and pushed her aside, keeping her away from traffic passing by, yet never used any aggressive mode to follow up his action. How can you not be struck by this responsible act? The Bouvier always manage to find an extraordinary way of distinguishing between an aggressive threat and none at all. I am sure most of you would agree when I say I wish I had the same ability every time! Visitors were accepted with a warm welcome, but intruders were always kept at a distance, no fuss, or noise. The presence of these gentle giants as I like to call them, creates a great feeling of security, even when you have your daily exercise walking down the street. A unique and precious quality of the Bouvier, the need for him to protect his family with all his might. I know it is impossible to convince others of a breed I find to be so special and close to my heart, and then again I sincerely hope in my effort I have aroused some sense of curiosity somewhere. Working alongside this exciting breed and falling in love with their characters, my life forever changed dramatically. Diggb broke all boundaries to become Top Dog of Namibia in 1995. What an honor he bestowed upon us. Peppi became the “Baby” for all, and loved us unconditionally, while Oliva, our “Lady” of the family, took the responsibili
ty instantaneously with a silent strength, relaxed as always, but swiftly to become the leader of her “Pack”. The memories of Diggb and Peppi, never to be forgotten, as life slowly find its way to normality...although it has changed dramatically within a few days. It could be with too much emotion that I recommend a breed such as the Bouvier des Flandres, however, without my overwhelming experience and complete involvement with these shaggy looking gentle giants…who would ever know? Thank you for sharing my humble opinion and on that note I wish to invite you to view a photo of the Bouvier des Flandres, Diggb at my profile page.
The Bouvier Des Flandres is a powerfully built, compact, short-coupled, rough-coated dog of notably rugged appearance.